Tour of Oman, stage 2: Haas tops Van Avermaet in sprint

Nathan Haas won the second stage of the six-day race and now leads in the overall standings.

AL-BUSTAN, Oman (AFP) — Katusha-Alpecin rider Nathan Haas rode to victory on stage 2 of the Tour of Oman Wednesday, edging Belgian Greg Van Avermaet in the sprint finish after a challenging day of rolling terrain.

Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) crossed the line in third.

The win gave Haas the top spot in the overall standings by four seconds thanks to bonus seconds. Van Avermaet is 4 ticks back in second, while Lutsenko is 6 seconds behind Haas in third.

“Today my team Katusha-Alpecin was just amazing. It was the first time in a long time that I just had to sit and not to think. They guided me to where I got to do my thing,” Haas said.

“I think I am climbing a bit better than I was last year. I am a little bit lighter and my bike is awesome. I’m gonna fight till the end, whether or not I can hold the red jersey or maybe even get on the podium. This is cycling. You can do pretty special things when you are in front.”

Wednesday’s 167.5-kilometer ride featured some dramatic rolling terrain that saw a breakaway and 16 riders finish 38 seconds ahead of the main pack.

Thursday’s stage 3 is designed for classics riders and should cause another shake-up in the overall standings.

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Stage 1, top five

1. Nathan Haas (Katusha-Alpecin) 4:22:15
2. Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), s.t.
3. Alexey Lutsenko (Astana), s.t.
4. Dries Devenyns (Quick-Step Floors), s.t.
5. Merawi Kudus Ghebremedhin (Dimension Data), s.t.

Top-five overall

1. Nathan Haas (Katusha-Alpecin), in 8:20:46
2. Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), at :04
3. Alexey Lutsenko (Astana), at :06
4. Merawi Kudus Ghebremedhin (Dimension Data), at :10
5. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), at :10.